Thuy Nguyen Thi Thu (PhD) is a tenured lecturer in the Department of Foreign Literature and Comparative Studies at Vietnam National University in Hanoi. Her work focuses on Russian literature, Russian orientalism, spatial literary studies, and the theory of film adaptation. Her latest publications are “F. Dostoevsky’s ‘A Writer’s Diary’: ‘Oriental Questions’ and the Establishment of Russia’s Mission in the Eurasian Relationship” (Literary Studies) and “Defining Vietnam in Russian Travelogues: Landscape Experiences and Cultural Interactions” (VNU Publishing House 2023).
Disability, Animals, and Environmental Injustice in The Way Station: From Short Story to Film
Abstract: The Way Station (2017) is an art film directed by Hồng Ánh. Based on the short story with the same title by Đỗ Phước Tiến, it won three awards at the ASEAN International Films Festival and Awards (AIFFA). Many of the themes of the film have been identified or analyzed in the Vietnamese press, such as loneliness, love, sexuality, violence, and so on. Inspired by the book Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation (2017) by Sunaura Taylor, this paper provides another reading of the film, exploring it from the perspective of feminist disability theory and animal rights. What do the forms of oppression and power imbalance that people with disabilities and animals endure have in common? Are disability and animal justice connected to each other in some way? How do women with disabilities endure prejudice and discrimination in a patriarchal male society? What are the repercussions of dual negation from without and within them? How do individual isolation and the barriers that keep them out of the workforce and the public sphere affect them psychologically? These questions will be considered in the paper based on an analysis of the plot of the film (as well as its source text). As Sunaura Taylor says, “if animal and disability oppression are entangled, might not that mean their paths of liberation are entangled as well?” The narrative about the disabled woman and the animals in The Way Station may help to advance further discussions about social and environmental justice in general.
Keywords: disability, feminist disability theory, animal, environmental justice